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Rare drawings, documents reveal secret history of mid engine Corvette

From an acclaimed concept car John DeLorean reportedly dismissed because he wanted something “smaller and more European,” to the design that ended a feud between a pair of GM giants — but may have set the Corvette back decades — a trove of unique documents, sketches and models tells a secret history of the 60-year quest to build a mid engine Chevrolet Corvette.

The story begins in the late 1950s with legendary Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and came to fruition when the first mid engine 2020 Corvette Stingray sold for $3 million at auction in January.

Titled “The Vision Realized: 60 Years of Mid engine Corvette Design” and created by GM Design Archive & Collections, the exhibit included 19 original sketches by designers including Larry Shinoda and Tom Peters, the massive 4-Rotor rotary engine from the 1973 Aerovette engineering, a wood wind-tunnel model, even letters from Arkus-Duntov’s personal files.

“The story of the mid engine Corvette is incredibly complicated, full of fits and starts,” said Christo Datini, manager of the GM Design Archive & Collections.  Cristo Datini at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020

Cristo Datini at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020 (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

A mid engine Corvette was a dream shared by GM designers and engineers. The layout, in which the engine is behind the passenger compartment and immediately over the rear wheels, improves acceleration and handling. It’s been a mainstay at Ferrari for decades, and inspired repeated design and engineering projects at GM. None of them made it to production till now, largely because the Corvette’s original front-engine layout was so successful.

“Why would we change the Corvette?” GM chairman and CEO Richard Gerstenberg said to Arkus-Duntov before both men retired in the mid-1970s. “We sell every one we can make.”

‘Design without limit’

A generation of GM designers and engineers had already fought that attitude toward the sports car that debuted in 1953 model, and a couple more would before the midengine eighth-generation C8 Corvette Stingray debuted last year.

The exhibition included dozens of sketches, models, photos and documents.

“Our mission is to preserve the heritage of GM Design and educate our designers on GM’s prominence in the world of design,” Datini said. The archive also is working with the Detroit Institute of Arts on a massive exhibition dedicated to automotive design that opens this summer. 

The Corvette exhibition closed at the end of January, but elements of it are likely to be displayed at other events and locations, possibly including the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, which provided materials for the collection.Original magazines with drawings of what Corvettes could have looked like on display at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020

Original magazines with drawings of what Corvettes could have looked like on display at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020 (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle I, Also called SERV I and XP-708, was the beginning. A running model that debuted in 1960, the car had the looks of an Indy car and a chassis that tested what a midengine layout could do. It was “a design without limit” and an “admirable tool” to help Chevy figure out “what to put in Corvette,” said Duntov, himself a former driver in the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race.

CERV I was used as a test vehicle for years. Larry Shinoda, who would go on to be known as the father of the ’63 Corvette Stingray and the Mako Shark concept car, tweaked its design repeatedly as engineers tested it with seven different power trains.

GM eventually retired CERV I, selling it to the Briggs Cunningham Automotive Museum for $1. When the museum failed in the 1980s, GM bought it back for “somewhat more,” Datini said.A model of the 1968 Chevrolet mid-engine Corvette Roadster that is one of many items for General Motors workers to see at the Corvette design display at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020

A model of the 1968 Chevrolet mid-engine Corvette Roadster that is one of many items for General Motors workers to see at the Corvette design display at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020 (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

Corvettes the world never saw

Shortly thereafter, Duntov heard rumors Ford was developing a Le Mans racer to challenge Ferrari and launched work on CERV II. GM decided not to race, Ford and Carroll Shelby built the GT40 that inspired “Ford vs. Ferrari,” and the CERV II was used as an engineering test bed at secret proving grounds and never seen by the public during its active lifetime. Built in 1964, CERV II had a 500-horsepower V8, 210-mph top speed and 2.8-second 0-60 mph time.

A picture of the CERV II Corvette. The sports car never went into production but it was influential in the design of the C5 production Corvette. (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

“By that time, engineers and designers knew a midengine chassis was necessary” to get maximum performance from the ‘Vette, Datini said. Putting the engine behind the passenger compartment puts the car’s weight over the rear wheels to put down more power without spinning. Shifting balance from the production ‘Vette’s nose-heavy weight distribution would also improve handling.

Also in 1964, the XP-819 experimental car was being tested. Designed by Shinoda, it bore a strong resemblance to 1970 Corvettes, but Duntov hated it, calling it an “ugly duckling” at least in part because he wished his engineering team got some of the budget allotted to designing the car. It had a 327 cubic-inch V8 and pop-up headlights.

Like many concept and engineering vehicles, XP-819 was destroyed, chopped up. Years later, the pieces were found in NASCAR designer and mechanic Smokey Yunick’s garage.

Half Corvette, half Porsche

With a name GM would later recycle on a minivan, the Astro II XP-880 was never publicly identified as a Corvette, but it was one, intended for production in 1970, but never got there. It debuted at the New York auto show, featuring a nose, front fenders and Firefrost Blue paint that that foreshadowed 1970s production cars.

DeLorean, then Chevrolet general manager, asked for a rush program to create a different midengine design to match the midengine Pantera Ford was developing with Italian sports car maker De Tomaso to debut at the 1970 New York auto show. The XP-882 had a tapering body with dramatic fender flares and a louvered rear window like the Mako Shark II concept car. Like so many midengine ‘Vettes before and after, GM brass decided to stick with the tried and true front-engine layout.

Also in the 1970s GM president Ed Cole — another legendary engineer who led the development of the small block V8 and catalytic converter, among other achievements — became enamored with the Wankel rotary engine. Duntov built two midengine experimental ‘Vettes with rotary engines, glad for Cole’s support despite not sharing his enthusiasm for the engine.Sketching and notes about the Corvette, one of the many originals on display for workers to see at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020

Sketching and notes about the Corvette, one of the many originals on display for workers to see at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020 (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

The 1973 Corvette 2-Rotor XP-987GT was a smaller, European-scale sports car with a rotary engine. The body was all Corvette, but its chassis came from a Porsche 914. Italian design house Pininfarina built its body. GM displayed the 2-Rotor at auto shows in Frankfurt and Paris before the car disappeared, probably sold to a collector.

Bill Mitchell’s most beautiful car

At the same time, Duntov wanted to develop a bigger midengine Corvette. He and Cole hadn’t been on speaking terms since Duntov refused an annual bonus he thought was insultingly small. They made up, at least in part because Duntov wanted a budget to develop what would become the Corvette 4-Rotor Aerovette, an iconic, gull wing design. Duntov believed it was the most beautiful vehicle GM design chief Bill Mitchell oversaw in a career that included the ’57 Chevy Bel Air and ’66 Buick Riviera. 

Duntov recycled the XP-882’s chassis for the Aerovette, which featured silver leather interior trim.A picture of the Aerovette featuring bi-fold gulping doors in the sports car that was never made. It is one of many photographs, drawings and sketches on display on all things Corvette design inside the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020

A picture of the Aerovette featuring bi-fold gulping doors in the sports car that was never made. It is one of many photographs, drawings and sketches on display on all things Corvette design inside the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020 (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

Despite the car’s striking appearance, Duntov would come to believe his agreement to use a rotary engine was a nail in the midengine ‘Vette’s coffin.

Despite that, another midengine engineering car arrived in 1974. The XP-895 began its life with a steel body. Intrigued by the idea of lightweight materials, DeLorean asked Reynolds Aluminum to create an aluminum body. That cut the car’s weight by nearly 40%, but DeLorean pulled the plug on the project because he wanted a smaller, more European design.

That never happened, and design work on midengine ‘Vettes came to a halt for more than a decade, as GM struggled meeting the challenge of higher fuel prices.

Closing the deal

By 1986, the quest for a midengine Corvette was ready to create another giant figure, and it got one when a young designer named Tom Peters began work on the Corvette Indy concept car. Peters went on to become the chief designer of the sixth- and seventh-generation C6 and C7 Corvettes and play a key role in starting work on the 2020 C8.

With a radically short hood compared to production ‘Vettes and cutting-edge technologies including four-wheel steering, traction control and active suspension, the Indy — so named because it used a 2.65L V8 Chevy developed for Indy Car racing —  kept dreams of the midengine ‘Vette alive

The 1990 CERV III — this time the C stood for “Corporate,” not Chevrolet Engineering Research Vehicle — was the next step. Datini’s research convinced him it was an attempt at a production version of the Indy.

CERV III had scissors doors and was built of Kevlar, carbon fiber and aluminum. With a 650-hp twin-turbo 5.7L  V8, GM predicted a top speed of 225 mph. It debuted at the 1990 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

After that, work on the midengine Corvette went undercover for two decades. Photos of disguised prototypes at test tracks surfaced from time to time, but the car seemed to be as much myth as metal. There are whispers the Great Recession halted work on one, setting development back years.A display of Zora Arkus-Duntov known as "The Godfather of  the Corvette" at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020.

A display of Zora Arkus-Duntov known as “The Godfather of the Corvette” at the General Motors Warren Technical Center in Warren, Michigan on Friday, January, 31, 2020. (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)

Development of the 2020 Corvette Stingray began around eight years ago, a long time for most projects, but the blink of an eye when it’s the last chapter of a 60-year story.

Mark Phelan for Detroit Free Press


Corvette Heaven: 2020 Corvettes at the Corvette Assembly Plant

[PICS] Corvette Heaven Part II: 2020 Corvettes at the Corvette Assembly Plant

Following Jeremy Welborn’s insightful post last week on Customer Ordered 2020 Corvette Production Starting, a reader left a comment about stopping by the Corvette Assembly Plant and seeing twenty-five C8 Corvettes in the parking lot. Thanks to Jeremy’s follow-up, Jay sent us some of his favorites that he took and gave us permission to share.

We’re calling this Corvette Heaven Part II as it seems to dovetail perfectly with yesterday’s blog post with an instagram video showing fifteen 2020 Corvettes lined up in a row.

From Jay Shellabarger:

I was at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant and Museum to see Shane for my Museum Delivery on Thursday, January 30th from 2:30pm to 4:30pm. I went directly to the Assembly Plant and looked at twenty-five C8 Corvettes in the parking lot and I took a hundred photos. I had been told all the pre-production cars would be smashed. I read where you state the VIN numbers are 5100001. Starting with 51 and all the cars I saw started with 50. I took photos of the VIN numbers too. I saw cars 5000028 (#28), 30, 56, 62, 124, 137, 138. 139 many up to number 5000375 (#375). I had a fun afternoon driving into the different parking lots (including employee parking lots) and looking at the C8’s produced. They are simply BADASS looking and I can’t wait to obtain my white C8.

Jay managed to capture nine of the twelve colors and several cars have full-length body stripes. We noticed that Jay also captured a Sebring Orange 2020 Corvette Stingray Coupe wearing thr 5VM Visible Carbon Fiber Aero Kit:1

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Jay tells us he has an Arctic White C8 Coupe on order and he is customizing it with the High Wing and he also tells us he’ll be adding his own stripes to the car as well as chrome wheels! Sounds like a stunner, Jay!

Here’s the photos of the C8 Corvettes from the Bowling Green Assembly Plant last week:

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Source:
Photos by Jay Shellabarger


THESE LEGENDARY 'LOST CORVETTES' COULD BE YOURS

Imagine yourself in the driver’s seat of one of these 36 beautifully restored ‘Vettes.

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Way back in 1989, when VH1 was still airing music videos, the cable network held a promotional sweepstakes in which one contestant could win a collection of 36 Chevrolet Corvettes, one from each the storied American sports car’s first 36 model years. 

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Long Island, N.Y. carpenter Dennis Amodeo won the sweepstakes, but then sold his coveted prize to famed German pop artist Peter Max, who intended to use each car as a canvas, but never followed through, as USA Today notes. 

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The vintage ‘Vettes ended up deteriorating in New York City garages for nearly a quarter century, out of the public’s eye. Fortunately, the restoration specialists at Corvette Heroes bought the entire collection from Max and are bringing the so-called “Lost Corvettes” back to life for a new sweepstakes, proceeds from which will go to the National Guard Educational Foundation.

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Additionally, six of the rarest and most iconic Lost Corvettes are being shown at the Chicago Auto Show from February 8-17: 

  • ’55, one of 700 built and the first year a V8 engine appeared in a Corvette
  • ’56, one of 290 in the rare color of Cascade Green; this car was driven by Jerry Seinfeld in an episode of “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” with Jimmy Fallon
  • ’57, featuring its original 283/245 horsepower engine with dual-quads
  • ’66 coupe featuring its original colors of Nassau Blue with a stunning White interior
  • ’67 convertible, a replica of the world-famous Ko-Motion Corvette
  • ’69 coupe, a replica of the rarest production Corvette ever built: the 1969 ZL1 
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Individual tickets to enter the giveaway can be purchased for $3 or in ticket bundles for prices ranging from $10 to $7,200. Visit www.corvetteheroes.com or www.thelostcorvettes.com for more details. 

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Source: Maxim Staff


Mid-Engined Chevy Corvette C8 Production Has Started: Report

[UPDATE] Contacted by Motor1.com, GM spokesperson Chris Bonelli says production of the new Corvette will begin in February.

It’s a great day for those who have signed their names on the dotted line to buy a C8 as it appears production of the mid-engined Corvette has finally started. The eighth generation of Chevrolet’s popular sports car was originally scheduled to hit the assembly line towards the end of 2019, but the UAW strike took its toll and forced General Motors to push back production until February.

It looks like they’ve managed to get everything ready a few days sooner, with production at the Bowling Green, Kentucky factory now underway. The reveal comes to us from Chevy salesperson Mike Davenport through his YouTube channel called “Chevy Dude” where he regularly posts videos about everything interesting that’s going on related to the C8 and other models that have the bowtie emblem. He was the first to break the news about Chevy cutting back on dealer allocations for the Corvette’s 2020 model year, which was shortly confirmed to Motor1.com by a spokesperson.

It goes without saying Chevy Dude is talking about the production of customer cars, including his very own C8. Another tidbit revealed is about the cancellation of the optional exposed carbon fiber ground effects for the 2020MY due to supplier issues. If you have ordered the car already with this option, Chevy will have no other way but to delete it.

For those who haven’t pre-ordered the new Corvette and are interested in getting the 2020MY, it appears April is going to be the last month when dealers will be able to ask Chevy for cars. Interestingly, Chevy Dude also knows the production of the mid-engined sports car will transition to the 2021MY in September.

That effectively means the initial model year of the C8 will only be in production for about seven months. We also get to learn the first cars will hit dealers across the country around mid-February or closer to the end of the month.

As you might have heard already, the 2021MY is rumored to come with a price bump, but nothing is official at this point. All we have for the time being is a rumor originating from a “well-placed source” cited by Motor Trend who is saying the Corvette will lose the sub-$60,000 sticker. Chevy Dude doesn’t expect the price increase to be significant, based on his 20-year experience in selling cars and analyzing Corvette pricing changes from one model year to the next.

Motor1.com has reached out to Chevy for comment and will update the article if we get a response.

Source: Chevy Dude / YouTube


ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA – AN IMPRESSIVE DEBUT FOR THE NEW CORVETTE C8.R

The 58th Rolex 24 at Daytona, the first round of the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, saw the first race for the new Corvette C8.R, the participation of an all-female driver line-up, 2019 NASCAR champion Kyle Busch’s first start in a 24-hour race and Ben Keating at the wheel of two different cars.

A NOTEWORTHY DEBUT FOR THE NEW CORVETTE C8.R

The #3 Corvette C8.R finished the first 24-hour race of its career in fourth place in GTLM (the equivalent of LMGTE Pro at the 24 Hours of Le Mans). Drivers Antonio García, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg encountered zero problems with the car and completed 785 laps (nearly 5,000 kilometers). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the #4 Corvette C8.R of Gavin-Milner-Fässler. As the car was in the top 5 in its class going into the ninth hour, an oil leak caused the car to return to its garage. The leak was found to be in an area that forced the mechanics to remove the engine for repair and the work took almost nine hours. The #4 was then able to hit the track again and finished the race in 36th place.

Much like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona is an extremely challenging race. To make it to the checkered flag with an all-new car is already a major accomplishment for Corvette Racing. The American team’s next stop is the 6 Hours of the Circuit of The Americas on Sunday 23 February in Austin, the fifth round of the 2019-2020 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

AN ALL-FEMALE DRIVER LINE-UP

All-female driver line-up Christina Nielsen, Katherine Legge, Tati Calderon and Rahel Frey shared GEAR Racing powered by GRT Grasser’s Lamborghini Huracan GT3 in the GTD class, but the car was forced to retire after a fire.

KYLE BUSCH ENJOYS HIS FIRST ENDURANCE RACE

2019 NASCAR champion Kyle Busch took the start in his first Rolex 24 at Daytona at the wheel of the AIM VASSER SULLIVAN team’s Lexus RC-F GT3. Along with teammates Parker Chase, Jack Hawksworth and Michael de Quesada, Busch finished 26th overall and ninth in the GTD class. The American driver pulled off a double and a triple stint without the slightest mistake and said after the race he really enjoyed the experience and hopes to return for the overall win.

BEN KEATING DOUBLES DOWN

Ben Keating participated in his 10th Rolex 24 at Daytona at the wheel of not one but two cars: the #52 ORECA 07 fielded by PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports in the LMP2 class and the #74 Mercedes AMG-GT3 fielded by Riley Motorsports in GTD. Both cars crossed the finish line, the #52 ORECA 07 in 10th place overall and second in its class two laps from the winners, and the #74 Mercedes AMG-GT3 in 29th place overall and 11th in its class. This was the fifth time Keating participated in the race with two different cars.

Source: 24H LE MANS


Exclusive! C8.R Corvette 5.5L DOHC V-8 Pics and How the Flat-Plane Crank Alters Its Iconic Sound

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There’s A New Engine In The C8.R Corvette, And It Sounds Nothing Like Its Predecessor.

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and although that’s true, it can also be in the ear of the listener.

Since the Corvette first hit the streets back in the 1950s, it was imbued with the beautiful and nearly magical sound of V-8 performance. It was a deep, bass-filled rumble that just oozed a feeling of power. Over the years, the sound emanating from Corvettes, both on the street and at the track, had a distinctive note that became synonymous with the car. When the Corvette moved to the LS1 in 1997, the firing order was tweaked a bit, and although the sound did change, it still had that deep rumble that we all love.

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Chevrolet is super secretive of its new mill for the C8.R, so much so that it covered up the back hatch to keep out prying eyes. About all the team will say is that it’s a 5.5L DOHC V-8 fitted with a flat-plane crank. Power numbers are limited to 500 hp and around 475ish lb-ft of twist, but that’s all it will say. In fact this picture is about as close as you’re going to get to seeing the new C8.R engine.

But the only thing constant in the world is change. For the C8.R, Chevrolet Racing really changed things up with its new mid-engine marvel, but it wasn’t the engine placement that ended the car’s iconic sound signature. It was the engine itself. Gone is the deep baritone exhaust note, replaced instead with a high-pitched Ferrari-like sound. Think puberty in reverse. And although we love the sound of a wound-out Ferrari or other Italian supercars, having that pitch emanate from the back of a Corvette is something that will be hard to get used to. We’re not saying the sound is bad—it’s actually pretty badass—but it’s not even close to the sound signature we’ve come to associate with Corvettes.

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The real culprit here isn’t the new 5.5L DOHC V-8 that Chevrolet moved to. Instead, it was the choice to go with a high-revving flat-plane crank. This drastically changed the firing order of the engine and eliminated the classic American V-8 sound that’s typical with the firing sequence of a traditional cross-plane crank. But we know what you’re thinking: “Well, this is just the race car, so I’m going to be able to get my V-8 rumble fix from the production car!” Well, yeah, for now. You see, for Chevrolet Racing to run this new DOHC flat-plane crank mill in the C8.R, it has to, according to the rules, run a similar engine in at least 300 production cars. So does this mean that an eventual C8 Z06 variant will lose its iconic exhaust note?

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Chevrolet Racing tried hard to give race fans a great-sounding engine. And although the new 5.5L engine in the C8.R does have a unique sound, it’s nothing like we’ve grown accustomed to.
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Electric Corvette breaks top speed record at 211.8 mph (340.85 km/h)

Genovation broke its own record with its all-electric Corvette supercar by achieving a top speed of 211.8 mph (340.85 km/h).

At this point, we have been reporting on Maryland-based custom carmaker Genovation’s effort to bring an all-electric Corvette to market for years now.

They were supposed to launch their car, which they call the Genovation GXE, in 2018, but they are now talking about 2020 deliveries.

In the meantime, they have been breaking electric top speed records with their prototype.

In 2016, their modified battery-powered Z06 Corvette reached a record-breaking speed of 205.6 mph.

A year later, they broke their own record with a new top speed of 209 mph.

They have kept working on their prototype, and they now announced that they have achieved a new record top speed of 211.8 mph (340.85 km/h):

Andrew Saul, CEO of Genovation Cars, commented on the new achievement:

Andrew Saul, CEO of Genovation Cars, commented on the new achievement:

During the December test, we broke our previous speed record that was set in September of this same year. That earlier record run was hampered by strong crosswinds, so we were confident that under better weather conditions we could improve upon that result.

He added:

We are thrilled to be the only electric car manufacturer to not only test our vehicle’s record-breaking capabilities, but to validate and achieve this milestone not once, not twice, but three times. Based on the early analysis of the data generated from the new record, we’re confident that we can gain efficiencies which will result in further top end speeds.

The vehicle is equipped with a seven-speed manual transmission (optional paddle shifting eight-speed automatic), which can definitely help reach higher top speeds than single-speed vehicles, like most EVs available today.

However, when it comes to the range, the Genovation GXE is limited to what the company refers to as “more than 175 miles on a full battery charge.”

Original Source: Fred Lambert; Electrek


The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is Here! And the BEST C8 Content is at MotorTrend

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette is one of the most anticipated vehicle reveals of the century so far–are you as excited as we are? For the first time, the production-spec Corvette will be a mid-engine car, opening possibilities to a much higher level of performance than we’ve ever seen from the ‘Vette. But you know all that. You’re here for world-class, comprehensive 2020 Corvette coverage and photos you can only find at MotorTrend.

So be sure to check back frequently, as we’ll be adding Corvette content after the C8’s reveal. Enjoy!

Motor Trend links:

CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE

OMG NEW CORVETTE

C8 ENGINE AND TECH

FUN STUFF

Original source: Motor Trend


Final C7 Stingray Donated To National Corvette Museum

While the last C7 Corvette will be in a private collection, the last C7 Corvette Stingray will be on permanent display for all to see.

The final C7 Corvettes rolled off the assembly line on November 14th marking the end of the line for the front-engine Corvette before production begins for the all-new, mid-engine C8 ‘Vette. The final Corvette – a black Z06 – was auctioned off earlier in the year for $2.6 million to a software company CEO, but the second to last Corvette isn’t going far. This car will represent the last C7 Stingray ever, and today it was donated to the National Corvette Museum, which is right across the street from the Corvette’s assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

This penultimate C7 was purchased by NCM lifetime member and supporter, Ivan Schrodt, who was riding shotgun in the ‘Vette while NCM CEO Dr. Sean Preston drove the car into the museum. Mr. Schrodt took brief delivery of this Stingray before handing the keys over for donation, and he was one of more than 4,000 people who took advantage of Chevy’s museum delivery program. 

As part of the donation ceremony, the NCM had a number of Bowling Green Assembly Plant employees on hand who signed the engine cover of this Stingray. From here, this Corvette will be permanent fixture at the museum enshrined among all of the other important and significant Corvettes on display. This ceremony was a fitting send off for the C7 Corvette ahead of the highly anticipated launch of the C8.

In fitting style, the last C7 Stingray was equipped in a familiar Corvette color scheme featuring the Arctic White paint job over an Adrenaline Red interior – mimicking the look of the original 1953 Corvette with its Polo White paint and red interior. This 2019 Corvette Stingray is equipped with the mid-level 2LT trim level and the upgraded Z51 performance suspension, and it also has Carbon Fiber and Painted Body Color removable roofs, Carbon Flash exterior trim accents, chrome emblems, red calipers, personalized plate package, brake package, performance exhaust and chrome aluminum wheels. All in, this well-equipped Corvette had a sticker price of just over $70,000, making it quite an impressive donation to the museum.

Source; Jeffrey N. Ross, motorious


How the C8 Corvette’s Dual-Clutch Has Changed Since We Drove the Car

The new Corvette has an eight-speed Tremec DCT. We weren’t crazy about it in the pre-production C8 we drove, but engineers tell us the final version will be better.

For the C8 Corvette, Chevrolet abandoned the traditional manual and torque-converter automatic for a new, eight-speed Tremec dual-clutch. And in our Performance Car of the Year testing, the gearbox was the weakest component in the pre-production C8 Stingray we had on hand. It’s part of why the Corvette didn’t win.

In automatic mode, the DCT dolled out nice, snappy shifts, but when using the paddles, it could be clumsy. Too often we found ourselves running into the rev limiter, or having downshifts denied after a paddle pull. But, the C8 we drove wasn’t a finished product. There’s been development work since we drove the car, and that work will continue for the foreseeable future. At a powertrain engineering seminar held by Chevy last week, we asked Glen Hoeflinn, controls program manager for the DCT, what will change from the car we drove.

“Maybe you get some humpy-bumpy shifts here, you get a little bit of that there. That all gets refined out,” Hoeflinn said. “It’s in final refinement, and then it’s in final checks and looking what we’re doing and making sure that it’s behaving exactly [how] we want.”

“That’s what we’ve done since the car that you had. Doing all that refinement and making sure it’s ready to go for everybody across the all the cars.”

A dual-clutch presents unique challenges, no matter what sort of car it’s in. “There’s a lot of pre-selection interaction that goes on in the background,” Hoeflinn said. “It’s the same choreography” between the engine and transmission, he added, but without the “luxury” of a torque converter, there’s a lot more programming work involved.

As you’d expect, the transmission has different automatic shift strategies for the various drive modes, which adapt in real time. The more aggressive, the more spirited you drive, the more aggressive the car’s going to respond,” Hoeflinn said. “As you start to relax, the car’s going to start to relax.”

The DCT uses latitudinal and longitudinal accelerometers, and looks at information like throttle position and steering angle to gauge how the car is being driven, and react accordingly. For example, in Track mode with the transmission set to automatic, the car will downshift aggressively when the driver is braking hard into a corner, and hold upshifts until corner exit.

The C8 has two manual modes. If you pull a paddle while in Drive, you get a temporary manual mode, which automatically times out, or can be exited sooner by holding the upshift paddle. In this mode, the car will automatically upshift at redline. If you press the M button in the center console, you get full manual mode. There’s no time out, and the car won’t upshift at redline.

There are two other neat tricks available for drivers to exploit. First, if you hold the downshift paddle, the DCT will serve up the lowest possible gear. Do that while braking, and the transmission will keep downshifting as engine speed allows. And second, pulling both paddles at the same time is equivalent to pushing in the clutch pedal on a manual car, which allows you to rev the C8’s new V-8 as much as you want.

In the C8, the paddles are directly wired to the transmission control module (TCM) for quicker response times. “In other applications, from the paddle, the wire will go to the body control module and then from the body control module back over to the transmission. You have obvious latency there,” Hoeflinn said.

“It could be 25, 30, 40 milliseconds from the time you pull, to the time that transmission actually got the message. When you wire them directly from the paddle straight to the TCM, we’re getting the message instantaneously.” This doesn’t mean the paddles will give you a downshift that over-revs the engine—the TCM prevents that—it just helps reduce delay.

One of the headline figures of the C8 Corvette is its incredible acceleration. We timed a pre-production Z51 Stingray as hitting 60 mph in 2.8 seconds and running the quarter-mile in 11.2 seconds at 122 mph. With the C8’s Performance Launch mode, the car will actually use the inertia of the engine coming down between revs to propel the car forward. Chevy calls these “Boosted Shifts,” and they’re only used with a Performance Launch. In any other mode, they make the car feel unsettled.

From a mechanical standpoint, this new Tremec transaxle isn’t a radical departure from other DCTs. There are concentric clutches and input shafts for the odd and even gears. The even gears and reverse live near the front of the transmission, while the odds are at the back. A limited slip-differential is integrated within the unit. Base Stingrays get a mechanical diff with a 4.89:1 final drive ratio while Z51-pack cars get an electronic LSD with a 5.17:1 ratio. The overall gear ratio spread of 8.8:1 is the same regardless of differential.

The packaging of the transaxle is such that there’s a common oil sump—filled with 11 liters of Pentosin FFL-4 fluid—for all components. A cooler mounted to the top of the transaxle assembly means there’s no need for additional hydraulic lines, while two filters keep things clean. An externally mounted pressure-side filter requires replacement every 20,000 miles, while the internal suction filter mounted to the sump is a lifetime part.

We asked about why the C8 team didn’t try to do a manual. Hoeflinn and the other engineers present gave us a similar answer to Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, when we interviewed him before the car debuted. They’d need to develop a new manual just for the C8, and considering the stick-shift market is shrinking, it would be an expensive endeavor seemingly without much reward. There are packaging constraints with the Corvette’s central backbone tunnel, too, which would require a hole to accommodate the shifter and gear linkage, hurting structural rigidity. Juechter also said the pedalbox would be cramped with a clutch.

Our first experience with this DCT was less than positive, but this is a gearbox that shows a lot of promise. We look forward to driving the finished product.

Originally written by Chris Perkins; Road&Track


Highlights of the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas

SEMA is the United Nations conference of all things aftermarket, and here’s some of the best stuff we spotted there.

1.Quintin Brothers Dodge Challenger

This 1000-hp Dodge Challenger went on a wild adventure after it arrived in Las Vegas. Vermont-based Quintin Brothers Auto & Performance had their truck and trailer stolen days before the show. Their custom Challenger was inside. Video surveillance helped track down the perp, but when Nevada state trooper Adam Whitmarsh tried to block the stolen Challenger into a parking space, the suspect rammed the Trooper’s Ford Explorer and escaped. After exiting the parking structure, the suspect smashed through a fence and drove the stolen Challenger across a nearby karting track—during a karting event. He eventually ditched the car and was later arrested. The Quintin Brothers and their Dodge Challenger arrived at the SEMA show wearing battle wounds from the wild chase.

2. Chevrolet E-10 Concept

It’s not an engine, it’s a motor. The Chevrolet E-10 concept is a 450-hp electrified C-10 pickup. Typically the only time a 1970s Chevy pickup is plugged into anything, it’s connected to a trickle charger. The E-10 has its batteries in the bed. The two electric motors seen here are called eCrate motors, a nod to the popular Chevy crate engines that can be found swapped into just about anything. GM claims the E-10 can complete a zero-to-60-mph run in about five seconds with a quarter-mile time in the high 13s. A Tesla P100D might be quicker, but it doesn’t look as cool.

3. Vibrant Performance Titanium Chair

Had Game of Thrones producers used Nissan Skylines or Toyota Supras instead of dragons as source material, this might be the Iron Throne. Vibrant Performance didn’t have to vanquish their enemies to build the thing, but they did use more than 50 pieces from their lineup of titanium exhaust products to construct what’s likely the most uncomfortable Adirondack chair on the porch. But it’s fun. Feeling exhausted? Have a seat.


4. Hyundai Veloster Grappler Concept

You’re unlikely to see a Hyundai Veloster on an off-road trail, let alone a dirt road, but this overland concept is out to change that. The Veloster Grappler concept is equipped with typical in-car camping accessories like a rear-hatch tent, solar panels, LED light bars, big all-terrain tires, and a roof basket to carry a spare. It’s still pretty low to the ground, and the tire clearance isn’t ideal for crawling, but it’s a concept. We’d pitch a tent with this thing.

5. Toyota Supra Wasabi Concept

Toyota’s Genuine Accessory Team cooked up a color for this concept that we hope will soon find its way onto a Camry. This Supra’s paint mimics wasabi paste and features white accents on the brake calipers, mirrors, stripes, and spoiler. The forged-aluminum wheels were designed at Toyota and have center caps with the original Toyota emblem. Ohlins coil-overs drop the Supra concept two inches. This was one of many Toyota Supras at the show.

6. AEV Jeep Gladiator

This Jeep Gladiator is equipped with all the proper get-dirty-quick gear. It has tough Bilstein dampers, a lifted suspension, and 37-inch tires. American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) is known for swapping big engines into off-road vehicles and then adding lift kits and other off-road accessories. They’re also responsible for the coolest parts of the Chevy Colorado ZR2 Bison. This year AEV brought three green machines to show off their latest accessories.

7. 1999 Honda Civic Si Super Street Build

Was this the car that sparked the movie The Fast and the Furious in 2001? It sure looks like it. Honda brought a handful of concepts to the show in celebration of its 60th year in North America, and what better way to do it by showcasing the Civic Si Super Street magazine modified for the Civic Si Challenge in 2000. If you collected buckets of Mattel die-cast cars as a kid (or shamelessly as adults, like us), this car might look familiar.

8. Nissan Frontier Desert Runner

The current-gen Nissan Frontier might be 16 years old, but this concept proves that Nissan knows what people at SEMA want in a truck: tons of suspension, awesome off-road tires, some type of light bar, and a 600-hp 5.8-liter V-8. In the meantime, we can only hope one of these ingredients get put to use on the upcoming Frontier refresh.

9. RTR Rambler Ford Ranger Concept

The RTR Rambler Ford Ranger does everything right without going too far. Ford chose 33-inch Nitto Ridge Grappler tires with custom RTR Tech 6 wheels, because they know anything bigger than that will be unnecessary in most cases. Three LED light bars are tastefully tucked into a custom front grille to complete an almost Ranger Raptor–like appearance. A two-inch suspension lift is installed as well as heavy-duty rock sliders, which act as both a step and as extra protection against rocky terrain. It’s a simple package done well, saving the flashy stuff like wild paint for the Insta-campers.

10. 1972 Honda N600

If it looks like this 1972 Honda N600 has a motorcycle engine under the hood, it’s because it does. This oddball is powered by a Honda VFR 800-cc V-4 motorcycle engine that puts power to the rear wheels. Although the car itself predates the era of high-revving VTECs, with the bike motor installed, this is likely the only N600 with a 12,000-rpm redline. This was one of several cars Honda showcased at the SEMA show.

11. Honda Civic Si Drift Car

This is a peek under the hood of a 926-hp Honda Civic Si. The engine is turned longitudinally and transforms a front-wheel-drive coupe into a rear-wheel-drive drift-spec machine. The work was done with help from Jeanneret Racing and Olson Kustom Works.

12. Chevrolet Silverado ZR2 Prototype

We saw this Chevrolet Silverado Desert race truck back in early October, when it competed in the Laughlin Desert Classic, a 17-mile race event in Nevada near the Arizona border. It was there for “engineering development,” but we still think it’s a preview of an upcoming Silverado Z

13. Honda Rally Passport

Honda R&D in Ohio built this rally-ready Honda Passport in their spare time. It has already survived a handful of rally competitions, finishing second in its class at the Southern Ohio Forest Rally. It has had typical safety additions like a roll cage, but other than that it’s unchanged except for tires, brake pads, wheels, and skid plates. Oh, there’s also the addition of a hand-operated hydraulic brake, for epic drift action.

14. 1968 Ford Bronco

There’s been plenty of buzz lately about the upcoming Ford Bronco, which is expected to debut in early 2020. A collaboration between Jay Leno and Ford, this Bronco has a supercharged 5.2-liter V-8 from the Ford Mustang Shelby GT500 and a five-speed manual transmission. The restoration maintained the simple beauty of original Bronco. The 18-inch steel wheels by Detroit Steel Wheels are a great combination of old style and modern needs. The Bronco’s Tonight Blue color would look great on a Mustang or F-150 Raptor.

15. Hyundai Veloster N Performance Concept

The Veloster N is quick, but this Veloster N Performance concept is quicker. Hyundai modified its hot hatch with carbon fiber for the front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser, and spoiler while adding carbon fiber to each wheel’s center caps. The suspension is made up of Extreme Racing coil-overs and H&R coil springs with aluminum chassis bracing to add rigidity. Orange-accented interior bits stand out among more carbon-fiber pieces and an Alcantara dashboard.

16. SpeedKore Dodge Charger

Routed through the front fender of a 2019 Dodge Charger Pursuit is the exhaust from a 1525-hp Dodge Demon V-8. This project, put together by SpeedKore Performance Group and MagnaFlow, began as a police car. After fitting a carbon-fiber widebody kit, they turned it into something that would outrun police cars. The stock supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 was transformed into a twin-turbo engine and received an upgraded upper intake manifold designed to withstand the 26 psi of boost.

Written by: Austin Irwin, Car&Driver


2019 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 Review: Say Goodbye to the Bad Guy

Early-build C8 Corvettes are hard at work, ginning up enthusiasm for the biggest sea change in America’s sports car since the C2 dropped the stick axle. The 2020 Corvette is an extraordinary car that makes extraordinary numbers at an extraordinary price—and we would expect nothing less. But before we rush headlong into the mid-engine era, can we stop and appreciate the outgoing C7 one last time?

Because it seems unfair, really, that the 2019 Corvette ZR1 has already become a thing of history, just another Vette in the model’s long and storied line. This is the culmination of not just the most recent generation of Corvette, but also the entire 66 years of the front-engine paradigm. Certainly, it is the costliest Corvette ever (and the highest-priced vehicle GM currently sells), with our test car ringing the bell at $142,075.

You spend that money for more power than in a regular Stingray—300 horses more. This is not unlike having an extra V-6 Camaro engine bolted to the top of your Corvette’s 6.2-liter V-8. Except the ZR1 actually employs a supercharger, with which the big, bad LT5 can blow even the brick house down, making 755 horsepower and 715 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet says all that power comes from using both direct injection and good, old-fashioned port injection, a trick that also helps the Silverado return better gas mileage.

At idle the ZR1 rumbles like a seismic event and its rips and crackles at full snort are the sounds of a natural disaster. Hang on and hope that you don’t do anything stupid, like keep your foot in it for too long or try to outsmart its eight-speed automatic. (A seven-speed manual is also available.) Things happen quickly in the ZR1 and there is no chance of running out of car before you run out of road. It may not produce the acceleration numbers of an all-wheel-drive Tesla Model S Performance, but the violence of internal combustion in the Corvette augments its own sensation of speed to produce a far more visceral drive.

Indeed, the ZR1 must rank among the baddest sports cars to ever roll on four tires. In this case, those are sticky Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s that owners should probably think about buying in bulk. Yet before the ZR1 was even launched, it was guaranteed to be overshadowed by the C8, just as it would be doomed to share most of its interior bits with the not-aging-so-well C7. Was it really only six years ago that this cabin seemed modern? But Chevy can’t really be blamed for spending money on interior upgrades for the new car rather than throwing good money after bad on this one-and-done special.

Behind the wheel, the view out over the vast hood of the ZR1 is like nothing likely to come again. The tops of its sharp fender creases still call to mind the outrageous C3, but they no longer seem like peaks compared to the mountain range in the center of the hood. The protruding carbon-fiber engine cover stands proud of the hood and is good for at least couple taps up on the power-seat adjuster. If the optional Competition Sport seats are too tight and the Track Performance package too stiff for the comfort of your average Corvette owner, well, those are items you add to your ZR1 when the pursuit of lap times render money no object.

Like its Z06 and Grand Sport siblings, the extra-wide ZR1 makes any road feel narrow, and makes narrow roads seem like goat paths. Thankfully its steering is prescient and immediate, giving the car an astounding athleticism. Talking about things like handling and grip after driving a ZR1 on the street is akin to holding forth on surgical techniques after binge watching Grey’s Anatomy. If the Cessna wing blocking access to the trunk isn’t a strong enough hint that exploring the limits of a ZR1 anywhere that doesn’t require a balaclava and helmet is a bad idea, maybe you’ve just sniffed too much of the ZR1’s resinous off-gassing. That cologne is yet another reminder that even at 218 percent of the price of a base Stingray, the ZR1 is still 100 percent C7.

With first tests of the C8 showing that it’s quicker to 60 miles per hour than the ZR1, the King of Corvettes has already abdicated its throne. It seems sea changes occasionally happen in the blink of an eye.

Originally written by Jeff Sabatini; Automobile


Brothers On Opposing NFL Teams Are Betting a Corvette Z06 on Sunday’s Jaguars-Jets Football Game

This weekend’s match-up between the Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets will feature more than just bragging rights between the Williams brothers.

On Sunday the top draft pics will square off against each other with Quincy Williams playing Linebacker for the Jaguars while his younger brother Quinnen Williams will be suiting up for the New York Jets at Defensive Tackle. On the line, apparently, is Quincy’s Corvette Z06.

That news comes from the twitter feed of Jacksonville sports reporter @BenMurphyTV who shared this video of Quincy Williams after he asked the rookie football player about his new Corvette:

Here’s how the conversation went down:

Mark Long: “I’m a little obsessed with your new car situation. Has he [Quinnen] seen your new car?”

Quincy Williams: “I mean, actually that’s the bet.”

Mark Long: “That’s the bet?”

Quincy Williams: “He wants that Z06.” (laughing)

Mark Long: “You’re betting cars? You’re betting pink slips on this thing?”

Quincy Williams: “I mean, I can’t disclose that information. But, I mean… we might be, we might not be.”

Nothing like a friendly bet between brothers to make an already special event for the two rookies even more fun. We might just have to tune into this game and see the outcome.


Source: @BenMurphyTV via BigCatCountry.com; Keith Cornett – Corvette Blogger